NEK1 mutations and the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): a meta-analysis


Recently, NEK1 (NIMA-related kinase 1) mutations were identified as a cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but the relationship between them remains unclear owing to the small sample size and low mutation rate. We made a meta-analysis to make clear the relationship. Eight case-control studies involving 8603 cases and 18,695 controls were enrolled. Results demonstrated that the frequency of NEK1 mutations was 3.1% (95% CI 2.5–3.8%) in ALS patients, including the frequencies of loss of function (LoF) and missense mutations, which were 0.9% (95% CI 0.6–1.1%) and 2.3% (95% CI 1.7–2.8%) in ALS patients, respectively. NEK1 mutations (OR 2.14; 95% CI 1.81–2.52; p < 0.001), including LoF mutations (OR 6.93; 95% CI 4.38–10.96; p < 0.001) and missense mutations (OR 1.65; 95% CI 1.37–1.99; p < 0.001) were associated with a significantly increased risk for ALS. And the risk of NEK1 LoF mutations (OR 6.93) is more than four times of that of NEK1 missense mutations (OR 1.65). Subgroup analysis suggested that the frequency of LoF mutations was higher in European patients (1%) than that in Asian patients (0.7%). In conclusion, NEK1 LoF and missense mutations are low frequencies in ALS patients, but both of them are associated with the increased risk for ALS. Altogether, NEK1 mutations including LoF mutations and missense mutations are more associated with Asian patients than European patients.

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The authors thank all those who collaborated in the analysis, interpretation of data, and writing the article. This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province under Grant [number ZR2014HM064].


Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province under Grant.[number ZR2014HM064].

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Yao, L., He, X., Cui, B. et al. NEK1 mutations and the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): a meta-analysis. Neurol Sci (2021).

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  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • NEK1 mutations
  • Meta-analysis